Skip to main content

When Animals Know They are Dying


In  Jerusalem in 1978, I brought home Chafifa,  a miniature poodle,  after I'd spent nearly a year as a volunteer in Israel. (Many single young Jewish women would go to Israel and return to the U.S. with an Israeli man, headed for the altar.  I came home with a dog.  That laid the groundwork for my next 37 years).
She was, at the onset, a very spunky and sprightly companion who lived with me in Israel, Brooklyn, and Fort Lauderdale.  At five, however, she fell into unexpected irreversible kidney failure and in less than a week, her coat faded, her eyes grew dull, and she hovered on the brink of physical death.   I brought her to my parents’ house since they lived just blocks from my veterinarian, and I witnessed an astounding and loving display of telepathic communication between the animals themselves.
     On her last day, the vet sent her home; I don't think he wanted to make the decision to euthanize her but wanted me to do it.  She crawled under the dining room table, as she had a new and urgent need for privacy.  I gave her sacred space while I contemplated bringing her back to the vet to release her.  I did not want to be premature.  I had not yet begun any kind of spiritual work (that would come seven years later), so I didn't tune in and ask her what she wanted.
     The other two dogs in the house, Chips, an ill-tempered Airedale, and Wendell, a feisty and periodically grumpy Miniature Schnauzer, did something I'd never seen before.  As Fif lay under the table in what was her last hour, they assumed sentinel positions on either side of her rectangular cave. They sat like bookends, their backs toward her, guarding that space and warding us off.  Whenever one of us walked too close to the table, they growled.  They knew she was dying and kept everyone at bay.  This was a new behavior, instinctive and primal and fascinating and Godly.  Within minutes of my giving  her water, she spit it back up. I returned with her to the vet for the last time.   Chips and Wendell  knew how close she was to her final moment even before  I did, and they as they  shifted into another dimension as spiritual guardians,  they provided her a sanctuary.
         About four years later, when I was working as a people rather than an animal psychic, while I was in meditation, Wendell, the Schnauzer, came into focus --  just zoomed with extreme clarity into the center of my vision.  I have written about this before.  I called my mother and said he was warning me about something and told her to watch him carefully.  She dismissed it.  The next day -- it was a Saturday -- he became lethargic and was rushed to his vet, where he died.  He was preparing me, and I, in turn, tried to prepare my parents for their loss.  But they weren't receptive to the information, which I see too often in a reading.  I will offer information and the dog's human dismisses it as innacurate and neither  past nor present, when, in fact, the animal is offering insight into the future for their benefit.  It takes a sense of trust and faith to listen to the animals, who often know better than we do.
    Such was the case years later with my client,  Boo, a Dalmation with Cushing's Syndrome.  With her vet's approval, her human caretakers had planned to euthanize her on a Saturday in May.  They called me the night before this was to take place so they could communicate with her on a deeper level.  She was a very sweet girl whose muscle atrophy made it difficult to stand and she'd lost interest in eating  During the reading, she insisted she was not ready to leave.  She would be ready in late November...the image  she showed me was of a turkey, so I told her people, around Thanksgiving.  I gave her Reiki, and the next morning, she walked over to her food bowl and ate, and based on their trust of their dog and her appetite's resurgence,  they cancelled her euthansia.  Instead, for four months or so, I visited every other Friday night to do Reiki on her, as it gave temporary respite and rejuvenation.  Eventually they hired a pet sitter/psychic who watch her during the day, and I didn't hear from them again....not until Thanksgiving..   I received  the phone call about 11 a.m.  Boo had died  earlier that morning, just as she said she would six months earlier.  She knew when her time to transition would be and honoring her wishes was the greatest gift her people had given her.  I felt so priveleged to have been a part of that process.
    Animals know their time on earth is nearing an end and will communicate this to us with the understanding that only the physical ends; the spiritual life continues.  We need to trust them. 
    My friend Dennis had a five year old Basjeni in good health.  One night she appeared in my dream, socializing with some  dogs I had lived with over the past years.  Two days later he called me to say he had to rush Becky to the animal hospital after two days of unexplained vomiting.  I mentioned my dream, and we agreed that Becky, to whom I was close, must have been reaching out to me as a warning to Dennis. It turned out she was suffering from bloat, an excruciating twisting of the intestines, and needed emergency surgery from which she didn’t recover.  On the second day of recuperation at the vet clinic, even after she'd been up and walking around the clinic courtyard, she unexpectedly died in her sleep.
     I could share more stories but they will all echo this message.  When we lose our animals that loss is illusory.  Really, what do we lose?  we lose a critical part of ourselves to sorrow, grief, and loneliness.  The animals remain with us in their purest form.  In these past few months, I have seen so many of our weekly Reiki circle animals depart, leaving grief stricken humans behind.  The only solace I can offer is that they were ready, the time was for them, perfect, and all is always in Divine order.
 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

God's Covenant with Animals in the Old Testament

What is our human responsibility to the earth and its non-human inhabitants? Traditional Biblical scholars would say one of master-servant and ecologists would say one of caretaker. However, using either frame, neither movement has responded in full view of the evidence presented throughout the Bible that God clearly included animals in covenantal relationships with Biblical scholars neglecting the sanctity of animals and secular environmentalists neglecting God. A closer look at the Old Testament reveals that God designed humankind’s role in relation to the animals as one of stewardship rather than domination. Traditionally religious people often cite Scripure justify a master/servant relationship between humans and animals rather than one of partnership, but deeper investigation invites us to see texts rich with references, both literal and figurative, to the partnership between humankind and the animal world. From Genesis through Prophets and Wisdom Literature, the writers of the O…

Living with an Old Dog: Every Moment a Blessing

This morning I thought my old girl, Ingrid, had died, and I was stunned as I tried to lift her head and leg and they just fell, heavy, onto the bed. I didn't even see her breathing. It felt as if there was no life in her body at all. I surrounded her with my body, thinking she was gone, calling her name.....and then she moved. :-'(. I thought, "this is the way I want you to leave," peacefully, without drama. Maybe she was practicing. I cried much of the morning. But she's still here....a blessing.

She turned 14 last week and quietly enjoyed a small birthday party attended by her two housemate dogs and three other dog friends.  She was subdued but enjoyed enough birthday treats to the point of vomiting them up onto the couch at midnight.  
She can no longer climb into the bed and anxiously paced back and forth along the foot board until I lifted all 50 pounds of her and she curled up and slept till morning.  On occasion I would awaken in the middle of the night to f…

Visual and Visionary Part 2: The Images

The Grief of the Pasha

by Jean Leone Gerome





The Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau


The Bear Dance by
William Holbrook Beard



Spirit Wolf
by Susan Seddon Boulet

























Calico Kitty by Georg Williams













Blue Dog (the original)
by George Rodrigue

























Bodo Flying through the Night
by Martin LaBorde